Instead, the 43-year-old Highland Village resident realized a long-time dream Jan. 20 off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. That’s when she caught a 576-pound, 11-foot-long marlin, a fish more than double her previous-best catch of a 55½-inch barracuda.
“It was awesome,” Rich said. “I was afraid it would go over the back of the boat and take me into the water with it.”
Rich and five other women were on an all-girls’ vacation at the timeshare she and husband Mike have owned for about two years. As part of their trip, Rich chartered the boat for what was supposed to be a four-hour trip.
“We had just got there, maybe five minutes out of the harbor,” she said. “We hadn’t even figured out the order we would go in so since I set it up, I was the first one. I heard a sound that indicates a bite. It all happened so fast.”
Rich said she used one of the boat’s regular fishing poles and mostly reeled in the fish by herself.
“The boat’s mate had the pole up against his chest and had to pull some of the line in with me,” she said. “It took an hour to reel it in, then it got really rough. We only fished about 30 minutes and went in because it was not safe. It was very windy.”
Deep-sea fishing was nothing new for Rich after previous ventures in Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas. The same couldn’t be said for Lantana’s Meg Reyna and Rebecca Wiltse, Flower Mound’s Janet Boeckstiegel, Coppell’s Dazina Conkling and Hurst’s Wendi Hill.
“None of my friends had gone deep-sea fishing before and I don’t know if they ever will go back since it would be hard to top that,” Rich said.
Time spent with a personal trainer, plus plenty of running and cycling, paid off for Rich while fighting to reel in the marlin.
“That was not relaxing at all,” she said. “It was quite a workout. It’s a good thing I work out a lot because if I
didn’t have the endurance I wouldn’t have made it. The mate said many guys tire out after 15 minutes.”
So now that’s she caught such a whopper, what is Rich’s next goal?
“I don’t know if I need to catch a bigger one but would like to catch a sailfish,” Rich said. “It will be fun trying.”
The mother of sons age 12 and 18 and stepmother of two other adult children will have plenty of time to achieve that feat after retiring last year from a career as a health care regional sales director. But she’ll always remember the big one that didn’t get away.
“It was crazy,” said Rich, who after savoring some of her prize will have it mounted. “It was unbelievable and definitely a thrill.”